Call for safe accessible transport in Moldova
Moldova must increase efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal agenda of providing safe and accessible transport for all, including the vulnerable and people with disabilities, according to new research from an influential partnership.
A study released on 21 April by FIA Foundation partners the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST) and the Automobile Club of Moldova (ACM) together with the UN in Moldova and several NGOs shows that people with disabilities are facing moderate to severe difficulties with transport in the country.
The findings highlight the barriers that disabled people face accessing education and employment opportunities in Moldova. One third of respondents reported difficulties while leaving home and travelling to work. Every second interviewee described travelling to school as hazardous. Every fifth respondent reported difficulties with transport while visiting a doctor.
The survey of 100 people with disabilities reported problems with mobility that had impeded full participation in social and economic life, and prevented them from playing an active role in their communities. Half of those interviewed said that poor mobility affects the attitude of others towards them and almost one third said that it impacted their life opportunities.
“Ensuring accessible mobility and reducing road risk for vulnerable groups is a challenge for all countries. However much more needs to be done in Moldova to ensure people with disabilities are able to travel safely and more easily. All Moldovans should be able to use their talents to the full – benefiting Moldova’s economic and cultural life. I welcome this report and hope that its many recommendations will be seriously considered by policy makers,” said Emma MacLennan, Director General, EASST.
Dafina Gercheva, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative said:
“The UN is firmly committed to a human rights-based approach to infrastructure development and urbanization, based on the principles of participation, accountability, non-discrimination, empowerment and alignment with international human rights standards. Together with our partners in the Government, civil society, private sector and international community, we will continue our efforts towards the goal of making infrastructure and transport services in Moldova safe and accessible to everyone.”
“People with disabilities have various problems in their everyday lives including mobility and road safety in our country. Such people are not visible in our society, and, unfortunately, because of road risks they lose their right to access social life. We hope that the reports’ recommendations will contribute to an effective road safety management and will improve the lives of many people with disabilities”, said ACM Project Manager, Tatiana Mihailova.
Almost 50% of the survey’s participants noted issues when travelling to other cities and 16% reported that do not travel at all. Even crossing the road is an issue for 40% of those interviewed.
The main type of transport used by persons with disabilities are trolleybuses (52%). Pedestrian travel, either by foot or wheel chair, is also very common at 47%. Buses and maxi-taxis are less accessible and only one respondent reporting driving an adapted car.
The Republic of Moldova has legal commitments under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to take action to improve this situation. The study’s recommendations include:
Moldova’s law requiring disabled access for public buildings and all new construction should be enforced; inclusion of persons with disabilities into decision making bodies responsible for giving permission, approval and certification for buildings; development of a plan for accessible inter-city travel and for accessible tourism in Moldova; improving road markings, particular at crossing-points; installing ramps where needed or, if this is not possible, lifts to enable full access to important services.
Disability and road traffic injury are closely interlinked. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), every year 20 to 50 million people are injured and 1.24 million are killed on the world’s roads. Road crashes are the primary cause of head injuries, and an estimated 30% of those injured on the roads remain permanently disabled.
The new framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals makes a commitment to people with disabilities, including in the Cities Goal (11.2) By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons.